How to calm your mind and body

by Naomi Woolfson, cognitive hypnotherapist 

I woke this morning and the fear was tangible in my body. My neighbours little girl had been coughing a lot in the night. I was concerned for her, worried about her mum as she is asthmatic and my mind was racing thinking about the implications of how it could affect us this side of the wall if it is the virus.

My entire body was tense, my shoulders felt locked in position and I was finding it hard to catch my breath. I could quite easily have given into the panic and spent much of today as a tense, agitated, ball of worry. 

Luckily I’m a trained hypnotherapist so I have a few tricks up my sleeve to soothe my mind and body. Here is how I brought myself back to calm.

A conversation

First off I had a conversation with myself using the following questions as a start point.

It went something like this.

Q: What is making me feel anxious? 

A: Worry about next door and if they are ok. 

Q: Is there any creative action I can take right now to resolve this?

A: Yes I can message Hannah and see how they are doing and if they need anything.

Right done that. Next level of worry. I’m concerned about my family’s well-being. 

Q: Is there any creative action I can take right now to resolve this?

A: I have already educated myself on the best course of action to take over the coming days based on the latest news and guidelines.  We are doing what we can to keep ourselves well and healthy so no there’s nothing more I can do right now.

Q: Is there anything I can do later about this?

A: Yes I can keep abreast of the changing situation and advice. I choose to do this by listening to the latest news this evening when there may be new information.

 

As you can see from the image for any given situation you will come to the ‘Then let it go and stop worrying about it’ circle. Obviously this is far easier said than done, it is possible but it takes practice.

Mindfulness, bringing yourself totally into the present moment, is a beautiful way to guide your mind to let go.

Meditation where you simply observe your breath, or the beating of your heart is fantastic but can be difficult to connect with if you are feeling very anxious. Try something more tactile. 

An invitation

You can turn washing your hands into a mindful experience. Bring your entire focus to the sensation on your skin, the sound of the running water, the smell of the soap.  We are advised that we need to wash our hands for at least 20 seconds so you could also slowly count to 20. Since we are all washing our hands more frequently at the moment, use each time as an invitation to connect with the present moment.

A hug

There is so much fear and uncertainty in the world at the moment. Due to many of us now being in isolation we don’t have access to many of our usual coping strategies such as meeting up with friends or distracting ourselves with a trip out. We need new ways to cope during this time and bring ourselves comfort. 

I want to share a very simple self-soothing technique that you can use to bring your body out of ‘freeze, flight and fight’ stress response and guide it into ‘rest, digest, heal and reproduce’ relaxation response whenever you are feeling in need of comfort. 

Wrap one arm around your body directly under your breasts and hug your ribs and then wrap your other arm on top holding just above your elbow and gently squeeze!

This position allows you to hold acupressure points that calm your body. Hold for as long as feels comfortable while breathing deeply. This is a beautiful technique to do whenever you are not using your arms, while you are watching TV for example, while digesting your dinner or while chatting to friends online. 

Learn more

Sunday 29th March, at 8pm I will be going live on @IVFBabble Insta stories to share more on how to calm your mind and body. 

We will do a short meditation to bring comfort to our bodies and calm our minds. I will then share simple mind-body techniques to not only allow you to feel so much better in the moment but bring your body out of stress response. Stress can weaken your immune system so learning these simple techniques has an added benefit. 

Join us for a ‘Meditation for Calm’ this Sunday evening at 8pm live on IVFBabble’s Instagram stories. I’m running a free online mini retreat ‘5 Days, 5 Ways to Calm’. Each day I will share a new technique to support and bring comfort in the moment while building resilience. To join the Facebook group click here 

If you would prefer to receive the videos and MP3s via email then sign up here

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